Leader : Ian Bagshaw. Distance : 6 miles.
Midweek Walks –Wednesday 19 Sept 2018. Next walk: Thursday 18 October Askrigg.
Taking heed of the long term weather forecast I had sent out a warning of my own to say that the walk to Bowlees- High Force and Low Force was probably not a safe idea. I did suggest that a low level walk might be a better option and with that in mind I planned catching the bus from Broken Scar, alighting at Gainford and then walking back to Broken Scar. I was not too surprised that there was nobody else at ED Walker Homes at 10.00 as several of my regulars had phoned to say that they had other arrangements. I decided that rather like The Windmill I would not close and consequently caught the X76 at 10.19 to Gainford. Several other walkers got out at Gainford but nobody seemed to be going my way. The Post Office in Gainford has closed so my thoughts of buying some Murray Mints to accompany me came to naught.
I set off past the Doctors Surgery having noticed the mileage indicator on the wall near the bus stop – had not noticed that before – wonder which way they went to London ? perhaps over the Bridge at Piercebridge? Turning onto the Teesdale Way I passed the field were our friend ‘Tom’ kept his horses but no Tom nor his horses, just the little pony with diabetes – I hope that all is well ? The notices on our gates are well and nice and clean. The track beside the river has received some attention and it is now rather boxed in with fences on both sides all the way to Piercebridge. There seems to have been some clearing out of the undergrowth on the river side and the river views are really exquisite at times. Saplings have been planted and these are protected with sacking – they do not look to have taken very well – perhaps the dry weather ? I had hoped to have my elevenses at ‘the seat’ – you know the one opposite Snow Hall but there was a guy sitting there reading his paper – he said that he had been there for an hour – must have been a slow reader because his paper was the Daily Mirror!
Just before Piercebridge there was evidence that some trees had been blown down but not with this storm because there were men cutting up the bigger branches. I crossed the road just before the bridge and walked down to where there are the remains of the Roman Town – I was going to have my elevenses in the town ruins but there was another man sitting on a seat here (No sign of the Daily Mirror) so I had to make do with a stone which was part of the walls. English Heritage have placed some information boards around the site and around the fields surrounding the site. I have never had time to read these before but spent time amusing myself looking at the writing and the illustrations. The pictures of the town and also the latrines were quite amusing.
I have never had any problem getting from Piercebridge to High Conniscliffe before but today I could not find any route which did not have new notices claiming –‘No Through Road – No cars’. It was getting a bit windy so I decided to cut my losses and I accessed the road which was not too pleasant as there was a lot of traffic and a lot of dust being blown around. I am sure that there used to be the outlet to some sort of water pipe below the road at this point but I also failed to find that !! The clouds were building as I reached High Coniscliffe and I decided to lunch in the Church Lych-gate. Church of St Edwin – only one in England dedicated to this Christian King of Northumbria who was killed in 633 AD – well at least someone remembered him. It started to rain as I left High Coniscliffe so I put on my waterproof trousers and top – always difficult to get on trousers whilst wearing boots. No sooner had I got my trousers on than it stopped raining but the same cannot be said for the wind. The river beside the track was beautiful as it raced its way down towards the east coast. The track is also quite firm because of the long period of dry weather and I made quite good progress. The wind was really gusting as I went through the trees which are a feature of the walk at this point and falling leaves and small branches rained on me as I hurried along. I wonder why I met nobody – possibly because of the windy conditions. To my left I could see the A67 in the distance and there was Merrybent and at last the bridge below the A1(M) – I hoped that nobody would throw a bottle out of their car window as it passed – there did not seem to be much protection from the road.
Just before Low Coniscliffe there are some woods and several of the trees have notices – one from the Darlington Trout Club declares that ‘No Grayling to be killed’ seems a bit extreme for a Government Minister of Transport. The wind was getting more damaging and the final bit of track before Low Coniscliffe was almost impassable because of fallen trees. Fortunately I knew where I was and I emerged through the final recently fallen tree just where the steps go up to meet the road in Low Coniscliffe. Just a couple of fields and then to the ‘Baydale Beck’ and then the main road back to Broken Scar not forgetting the Pumping Station which will open one weekend soon.